Provence or Tuscany?

Mar 21st, 2005, 09:10 AM
  #1  
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Provence or Tuscany?

Which would you choose and why?
liesel is offline  
Mar 21st, 2005, 10:14 AM
  #2  
 
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We love Provence. Among Its virtues:

-wondeful scenery - in July, lavender; sunflowers
-beautiful villages--nice dining; great outdoor markets.
-pace of life--slower than New York City!
-friendly people.

One year we did Provence and Tuscany. We started in Siena then drove nine hours to St. Remy de Provence.

Tuscany is lovely. You could support all the virtues above for it. One advantage is Florence and Siena--there is nothing quite like those cities in Provence--as to the availability of art, cathedrals. Provence can not really compete with those cities.

Stating all that, I still prefer Provence. My wife and I speak French and enjoy French culture.

You might do each area in different years.

Good luck.

Anthony
Powell is offline  
Mar 21st, 2005, 10:22 AM
  #3  
 
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The London Times published a terrific comparison of the two back in 2004. You can find it at http://travel.timesonline.co.uk/arti...055573,00.html
abbydog is offline  
Mar 21st, 2005, 10:48 AM
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I've spent a considerable amount of time in both places.

My favorite meduim sized town in Europe is Siena. My favorite rolling countryside is the Val d'Orcia around Pienza. It's a tie for small, cute, perched villages. My wife likes shopping in Provence much more than in Tuscany. She likies Tuscany/Umbria pottery more than Provence pottery. I think there is more diversity of terrain in Provence. The coast in Provence is prettier. There are several gorges, mountains (Alps), and caves with stalactites & mites in Provence. The Lavender in Provence is un-matched. Our closest friends have a second home in Tuscany & they have trouble growing lavender there, for some reason.

The markets in Tuscany are nothing like the ones in Provence. Most of the markets we've visited in Tuscany are more like K-Mart parking lot sales (except Florence - have not visited any north of Florence). In Provence, the larger markets (Apt, Aix, Carpentras, l'Isle sur la Sorgue, Apt, etc) have several fish vendors, many olive vendors, cheeses, roasting chickens, bread, vegetables, fabric, pottery, soap, antiques, etc.

Food is a matter of taste and I'm not a fan of Tuscany cooking and not that big on Provence either. Other regions of France (Dordogne, Languedoc, Brittany, Loire, Alsace) are more to my taste.

I think Tuscany is easier to visit than Provence. The Rome, Tuscany, Venice shuttle is perfect - especially for a first timer.

Stu Dudley
San Mateo (San Francisco), Ca
StuDudley is offline  
Mar 21st, 2005, 11:02 AM
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I apologize in advance for hijacking a thread. Anthony Powell: with regard to your 9 hour drive from Siena to St. Remy de Provence, where did you stop for break(s)? Was the route complicated? Was there a lot of traffic? I spent a semester in Avignon and would like to return to Provence, but I would also like to visit Northern Italy. I have researched the route from Avignon to Florence, but it is difficult to get a feel for the practicalities from a map. We live in the MidWest and think nothing of driving 9 hours on an interstate, and we've found the drive from London to Edinburgh quite easy, but is southern European driving more difficult?
Marsha is offline  
Mar 21st, 2005, 11:06 AM
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I had a similar question. If one were to do a week in Provence and a week in Tuscany what route would you recommend with the travel time in between?
starrsville is offline  
Mar 21st, 2005, 02:10 PM
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Stu says it very well--I would prefer Tuscany. One reason is that I like the attitude of Tuscans better.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Mar 21st, 2005, 04:55 PM
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Having left Tuscany on Saturday and having had perfect accomodation and weather, I would say: It's still a close race as far as I'm concerned.

Provence is kinda in my blood. And I prefer the food. And I speak both languages I guess -- but speak French much better.

The Tuscan architecture is greater, by far. But I found driving and navigating towns in Tuscany tougher than in France.

BTW: Provence is appreciably less expensive, in my opinion, than Tuscany. (But Tuscany is not break-the-bank expensive.)

tedgale is offline  
Mar 21st, 2005, 05:24 PM
  #9  
blh
 
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We also did both one year. Did Tuscany first - flew into Rome, rented a car and spent several days in Tuscany. Ended with a couple of days in Cinque Terre - rode the train around the Riviera to Nice, picked up a rental car and spent a week in Provence, flying home from Marseille. We were in small villages in both areas and couldn't help making comparisons. Both were great and each area had it's own charm. Hotels were more expensive in Tuscany - but we probably enjoyed the food more. We found plenty to buy - especially pottery - everywhere we went. Oddly enough, we enjoyed the French people more - and we don't speak either language. Found them more friendly and helpful. I know that many Americans don't think of the French as friendly, but we have always found them to be.

So, I guess the answer to your question for me would be, Provence. Since that combined trip, we have returned to Provence, and I am very much interested in going again. I still would enjoy returning to Tuscany, but I think more often of Provence!
blh is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 07:08 AM
  #10  
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Thanks everyone for your help! I need to do some more research, but I'm thinking Provence may be easier to go to from Fussen/Bavarian Alps in Germany. The only definite is that we are more then likely flying into Munich, taking the Romantic Road and then either 1)heading straight down to Provence or 2) making a pit stop in Switzerland and then heading down to Tuscany ... although my fiance would prefer Tuscany and I prefer Provence. Decisions!
liesel is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 10:21 AM
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Please take note of the warning from this thread - it could influence your decision.

It did mine!

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34587884
TuckH is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 10:22 AM
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liesel,
You summed it up with " although my fiance would prefer Tuscany and I prefer Provence. Decisions!" No contest! Have your man brush up on his French!

johnthedorf is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2005, 12:11 PM
  #13  
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That is a shame about the drought!!! We aren't planning to go over until June/July '06 (I plan and research early) so hopefully by then things are back to normal.
liesel is offline  
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